Tribute to the Mahatma

Poetry in motion Deepika Reddy and disciples. Photo: Nagara Gopal  

Sarvodaya International Trust A.P. Chapter organised a mammoth show at Ravindra Bharathi on October 2 to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti. The three- hour programme reflected the solemnity associated with the occasion.

Christian Bartolf, President of Gandhi Information centre, Berlin, Germany; inaugurated the memorial function. The events held on the occasion were broadly divided into four sections: rendition of Gandhiji's favorite bhajans by Subra Mohanta, a skit Shanti Ki Aur presented by Prajwala, rendition of favourite hymns of Gandhi by A.P. Gibbs choir and presentation of Kuchipudi ballet Prakriti by Deepika Reddy and disciples, highlighting Mahatma's concern for the environment.

Subra Mohanta teaches music in the Defence Laboratory School and is a disciple of both Dr. Deshpande and Gghazal maestro Vittal Rao. She rendered bhajans like Vaishnava Janato on the stage.

Martin Luther King once observed that Mahatma Gandhi was the first person in human history to lift the "ethic of love of Jesus Christ above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale". This was reflected in the hymns that the Mahatma loved most, rendered by the 30-member A.P. Gibbs choir. This show was conducted by Kenneth Gibson. The first hymn rendered by the group was When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, which was part of the hymns and spiritual songs of 17th century's Issac Watts. The line in the hymn that attracted the Mahatma is 'when I survey the wondrous cross as Christ went to Cross out of love for us'. The second hymn rendered by the choir was the famous Lead Kindly Light, composed by Cardinal John Henry Newman in 1835, when he was placed in a hopeless situation in a cargo boat in the Mediterranean sea. Gandhi was moved by this and it led him to attain India's nationhood sans violence. This song used to be sung in Gujarati at his prayer meetings. The third hymn of Mahatma's choice was Abide with Me, sung almost at every prayer meeting.

Shanti Ki Aur skit by the children of Prajwala, an anti-trafficking organisation, reminded us of secular India, seeking divine intervention to bring back Bapu's mantra of non-violence, self-reliance and truth.

Dance of nature

Deepika Reddy's Kuchipudi dance show on Prakriti (nature) was the final piece. It concentrated on the evolution of the universe with earth, wind, fire, water and sky as the basic elements that sustain life and balance the universe. The get-up of the ballet had the pictorial backdrop of birds on curtains. Pappu Venugopala Rao, a scholar who penned the script, interpreted Bapu's thought that nature was meant to satisfy every man's needs but not every man's greed. The ballet was conceived in expressionist style. This was choreographed by Kishore Mosalikanti and Deepika, both students of Vempati Chinna Satyam. Music was scored by Ramesh Jetty and D.S.V. Sastry.

The ballet depicted human life's dependency on the five elements and also the corresponding seasons for survival. It took into account places like Kondapalli and Pochampalli as examples for source of rural economy. The traditional 'Pravesa Daruvu' of each of the characters and colours, especially indigo, queen of all dyes was impressive. The exploitation of the indigo farmers by the British was one of the principal issues that the ballet dealt with. But for the intermittent Jatis to the nascent Kuchipudi system, the whole presentation was expressional and purposeful. Besides Deepika who played the main role of a narrator, there were 14 students playing supportive roles. It was a pre-recorded presentation and the vocal support by Sastry and Nitya Santoshini and conduction by Sastry with perfect nattuvangam were well received. Mridangam was by Rajagopalacharya.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 3:01:57 AM |

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